Summer holidays mean sunshine but with that comes danger – painful burning and an increased risk of skin cancer. So top of your list of things to take on holiday should be sun protection, which means sun cream and lip balm of a minimum SPF30, as well as sun hats and protective clothing for your children if you have a family. Make sure you’re not in the sun during the hottest hours of the day (between noon and 3pm) and cover up skin if you do get burnt. For more details on sunscreen and sun safety, visit the NHS website.
What to pack when going to sunny climates
Packing for holiday can be a bit of a headache – especially when packing for the whole family — but it really doesn’t have to be. Get out all the clothing, shoes, swimwear, hats and other bits and pieces you think you will need a few days in advance. That way, you have time to buy any last-minute items. It also means that you can whittle down your packing to the essentials: if you put clothes straight from the cupboard into your suitcase, it can spell disaster and almost certainly lead to over-packing.
It’s always worth checking at the time of booking whether you will need anything special so you can be prepared – and weighing your suitcase before you leave home to ensure it is within your airline’s luggage weight-limit. To have to pay extra for overweight luggage won’t start your holiday well.
Here are our top tips for what to pack for holiday:
If you’re going on holiday in the depths of the British winter, it can be hard to believe that you won’t need your thermals. But you won’t. So whatever the weather back home, make sure you pack light, cotton and linen clothing. You may need something to put round your shoulders in the evenings and a light jacket – and it’s worth checking the weather forecast in the run-up to your summer holiday to make sure you’re prepared – but you don’t need to pack too much warm clothing.
Similarly, if you’re planning to do some sport on an all-inclusive holiday, make sure you have the right kit and footwear, whether that’s for tennis or sailing (though most hotels will have options to borrow, and if you want to join in the entertainment in the evenings on your Club Med holiday, be prepared for a little fancy dress. Don’t panic though — it won’t be anything extravagant, but themes such as the “white party” are one of the resort’s favourites.
If you are flying long-haul for your summer holiday, it’s essential that you respect local cultures and take appropriate clothing for your trip. That might mean covering up your head and shoulders or wearing a long skirt or trousers if you are female and intend to visit local sightseeing or religious spots. The Foreign Office has a great section on local laws and customs for each country, and is worth a read if you’re travelling to somewhere unfamiliar.
Going abroad for your summer holiday brings with it new experiences, the chance to explore different cultures and try different foods. But, as with going to work or school, there is a small chance you could get ill or suffer an insect bite, so it’s best to be prepared. Therefore, your holiday checklist should include a few essential items to help any hiccups, including painkillers, Immodium or similar to settle an upset tummy, Diaoralyte or a similar rehydration remedy in case of sickness, insect repellent, some form of anti-histamine (in case of bites) and antiseptic cream. Your local chemist will be able to advise on what else you should take, depending on your destination.
If you are on any medication, ensure that you have enough of it with you for the duration of your holiday, and if you are going to a country that requires vaccinations, that you book these with your doctor or local travel clinic.
Keep a holiday checklist
It’s inevitable that during your summer holiday, you won’t use or wear some of the clothes or shoes you took with you. We’ve all done it, even seasoned travel journalists. So once you’ve returned from holiday and are unpacking, make a holiday checklist of all the things you used, so next time you are packing for holiday, the whole job will be a lot easier.
Holiday checklist items that you should always include:
- Sun hat
- Sun dress
- Flip flops
- Beach towels
- Beach bag
- Sun cream
- Swimming costumes
- Evening clothes and shoes
- Cardigan/jumper for the odd chilly evening
- Sports kit
- Basic first aid kit (antihistamine, rehydration powders, painkillers etc)
- Copies of important documents such as insurance cover, passport and driving licence
- Plug adaptors
- Insect repellent
- Plenty of toys and games to entertain the kids
- Travel wash
One last top tip: if you found anything particularly useful (such as sarong or sun hat), why not try to get a second one in the end-of-summer sales for next year. Just beware of stockpiling sun cream, because it has a shelf-life and will not offer the correct protection after a certain amount of time or once-opened.